Thursday, 15 September 2016

Meg Ryan Returns, but this Time She’s the Director.

Photo: Rex Images

Meg Ryan won America over with as the lovable hopeless romantic in everything from When Harry Met Sally to Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. And then she stepped out of the limelight. During her self-imposed hiatus, Ryan traveled, enjoyed being a mom to her then teenage son, and adopted her baby girl, Daisy, from China. The actress says there was nothing in particular that encouraged her to step away from film sets, other than the fact that she wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. But after years of lying low, Ryan has once again found her creative spark and, with it, a desire to enter a new career territory.

After stumbling upon the script for Ithaca, Erik Jendresen’s film adaptation of the 1943 novel The Human Comedy, Ryan jumped at the chance to direct it. Though taking on a new role at the age of 54 was initially intimidating, Ryan admits that the transition was easier than she thought. “I was surprised by what I did know, what I had picked up along the way,” she told Yahoo Style during a recent phone interview.

We caught up with the actress-turned-director to discuss bossing Tom Hanks around for a day on set, her attempt at conforming to today’s social media crazed society – “I apparently have tweeted,” she jokes, and why her daughter wants absolutely nothing to do with the entertainment industry.

Yahoo Style: Ithaca is predominately an all male cast and male-oriented story. What made you decide that this needed a female perspective and that this was right for your directorial debut?

Meg Ryan: I was ruminating around that exact question one time. I was sitting next to Sam Shepherd and he goes, “Meg. What the hell is wrong with you? Who else is going to tell this story? Sam Peckinpah? He said, “Women are the making of men. Women make men, men.” So it’s this maternal perspective on this coming of age story. I’ve had experiences in the movies but mostly I’ve had experience as a mom and I really felt that is a perspective I could tell a story from. What I love about the story is it’s actually very simple but it’s about complicated things. I thought given my inexperience as a director, if I just had these simple elements of story and character and light beautiful pictures basically told without a lot of tricks and with good music, I felt like we could deliver the emotional punch of the story.

Did your directing style surprise you?

It has pretty formal aspects, this movie. It’s very old fashioned in terms of the way that it’s cut and the way it’s framed and the way we shot it. In terms of the tableaus, we referenced those American realist painters. Again the camera doesn’t move very much, the frames tell the story. So it didn’t actually surprise me. It’s like doing a house. I don’t know if you’ve ever renovated a house. It’s like it tells you what it is. I feel like that’s the story here. It wasn’t the right movie for quick cuts or different kinds of music. I love how the source and the score kind of are woven together. The actors in the movie sing what is the theme of the score. That’s a pretty old school way of going about things too, as much as the elements are that it was a period piece about 1942. I think we stole a lot of the storytelling convictions from that time too.

By Nicole Pajer.
Full story at Yahoo News.

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